Covid-19 lateral flow test FAQs

Who can get tested?

Free and regular coronavirus tests are now available at multiple local sites for everyone in H&F aged 12 upwards, even if you don’t have symptoms.

There are two types of test available, so please make sure you get the right one.

Who is this test for?

Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) are for people without symptoms of COVID-19 and are only available for those over the age of 12.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 do not attend this test, you should book a free standard PCR swab test

Should I get an LFT if I’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive?

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person - GOV.UK

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - GOV.UK

Why should I get an LFT if I feel well?

We know that up to one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious. Lateral Flow Tests are one of the tools being used to help detect and fight COVID-19.  

These tests can allow individuals with no symptoms to check if they have the virus. The rapid turnaround, lateral flow tests can give results in under an hour, without the need for laboratory processing.   

So please get a free Lateral Flow Test to reduce the spread and keep H&F safe.

How many times can I come for an LFT?

You are welcome to come for repeat tests as long as you have not had a positive test result. 

A false negative can happen if you test soon after you have picked up the virus. For this reason repeated testing is more reliable than a one off test. To ensure greater reliability, you are welcome to come for repeat tests provided these are 3 to 5 days apart and you have not had a positive result.

If you test positive for coronavirus, you must follow government guidelines, stay at home and self isolate

How does an LFT work?

If you get tested at a testing centre, you will be given the testing equipment and will need to take your own throat and nose swab, then the sample is analysed by trained staff using a device that looks similar to a pregnancy test.

The result is automatically texted or emailed to you within an hour. Your test is linked to a unique barcode.

Watch the video to see how easy it is to be tested at an H&F testing centre.

How quickly will I get a result?

Test results are usually received within two hours, however sometimes it can take up to 24 hours for results to be received. If you do not receive your results within 24hrs you can call the CAN team. Contact the H&F CAN helpline Freephone 0800 145 6095, open 8am to 6pm seven days a week, or email:

What if I need someone to help me take the test?

Due to social distancing our testing staff will hand you the test and can talk you through it but are unable to administer it for you. Therefore if you think you will need help doing this, please attend the test centre with another person who can do this for you. 

How reliable are the LFTs?

The lateral flow tests pick up 80% (4 in 5) of people who are infected, and picks up 95% of people with high viral loads. 

Do I have to report a negative LTF result?

Report your result (positive, negative or void) every time you do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test at home or at work. Read more about reporting a rapid lateral flow test result.

What happens if I test positive after having an LFT?

A positive result means it's likely you had coronavirus (COVID-19) when the test was done. You must self-isolate immediately. Find out what you and people you live with need to do next.

Positive test result for coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS

When to self-isolate and what to do - Coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS

From January 11 2022 confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results - GOV.UK

Can I get financial support if I test positive?

If you test positive for covid, you may be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.  The council also offers other financial assistance – please ask H&F CAN for help

Find out more and apply for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.